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Theme Verse: Psalm 73:24, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory”
I. Guided in Our Relationships
1. Read Ephesians 4:1–13.
2. 1 Timothy 3 talks about the attributes that should be seen in a deacon. This passage does not focus on the personality of a deacon, but rather his character. This can be applied to our friendships as well as our dating life. We must look at the character of the other person, not just at their personality. What is the distinction between one’s character and one’s personality? How do you find this to be a challenge in your relationships (both friendships and dating) with those around you?
3. Titus 1 talks about the attributes of an elder. What are some characteristics that apply to both the elder and those with whom you are friends?
4. Proverbs 8:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” What does it mean to “shew himself friendly?” What are some examples of ways we can show ourselves friendly?
5. 1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” What does this passage show about the wicked and their ability to love? What does this passage mean for you in relationship to your friends? What does it mean for you in relationship to your parents? In your daily interactions with others, how must you strive more to apply this verse to yourself?
6. Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” What does God’s word say about forgiveness and its role in our friendships? Is it difficult for you to resolve conflict with your friends? How should we approach disagreements? Read Matthew 6:14–15, Psalm 86:5, and Luke 7:36–50.
7. What does God’s word say about how we must behave towards our parents? Do we see our parents as a reflection of our relationship with God? What should we be doing in our relationships with our parents? Think about your communication with your parents and consider your relationship with God. Read Psalm 103:13, 1 John 3:1–2, Matthew 10:37, Ephesians 6:1–4.
8. How does God guide us in our dealings with all those in authority over us, both in church and state? Read Romans 13:1–7.
II. Guided in Worship/Church Life
1. Read Psalm 119:97–105.
2. Why must we worship God? Read Psalm 29:2.
3. How must we worship God according to John 4:24? What does this mean? What does Matthew 15:8–9 say about how we must not worship?
4. Many in the world argue that we cannot know truth; we cannot discern the truth from the lie because the Bible is available for our own interpretation. How can we as Christians say that God has guided us to know the truth vs. the lie? Read 2 Peter 1:20–21 and II Timothy 3:13–17.
5. Why must we worship God with other believers as opposed to worshipping at home by ourselves? Read 1 Timothy 3:15, Matthew 16:18, Hebrews 2:12, and the Belgic Confession Article 28.
6. What should determine where we go to church and what kind of church may we become a member? Read Belgic Confession Article 29.
7. What are some ways in which the young people can be more involved in church life? Read Romans 12:9–13.
8. Why do we have catechism? Why do we have young people’s society? How often do you look at the passage ahead of time before you go to young people’s society? How many days beforehand do you begin study of your catechism? Why or why not? What should we be doing?
9. When the catechism and young people’s society year ends, how do you continue in your diligent study of God’s word throughout the summer?
10. What is the significance of making confession of faith? How does that contribute to your role as part of the church? Read Lord’s Day 25, Q&A 66 & 67.
11. Why should prayer be a part of our life of worship? Read Lord’s Day 45.
12. How often must we pray? Consider this quote: “Prayer is to the Christian what breathing is to a healthy person. Without breathing a person cannot live. Without prayer a Christian dies. Breathing is spontaneous; in many ways so is prayer.” (Hermon Hanko, When You Pray, page 1) Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18, and Colossians 4:2.
13. Do you delight in your church life and worship of God? Read Psalm 122.
III. Guided in Our Future Callings
1. Read Psalm 37:1–11
2. Share: What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about your future?
3. The future can be tomorrow, next week, next year, 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, etc. At each different stage of future, where do you see yourself? What or who influences your thoughts about where you see yourself at each different stage of life? Why?
4. Who or what should be our guide for our future callings? Read Proverbs 3:5–6, James 1:5–8, Psalm 119:105.
5. What do we mean by the word callings? What is a calling? Where do we see the word call or calling used in Scripture? Read Genesis 1:5, Genesis 3:9, Romans 8:28–30. Can you think of other places this word is used? What meaning do we speak of when we say our “future callings?”
6. What is our primary calling? Read John 8:12, Deuteronomy 13:1–4, Mark 8:34, 1 Peter 2:21–25, and Matthew 19:21.
7. Our primary calling leads us to seek God’s will for our lives. Will we be called to be single or married? Be a husband/wife? Father/mother? Construction worker/teacher? Doctor/secretary? How do we know what to do? How does Scripture guide us in these decisions? Read Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 2:10, Proverbs 4:20–27, Proverbs 3:1–3.
8. To whom else can we look to for advice for guidance in our future callings? To whom should we NOT look to for advice? Read Ephesians 6:1–3, Proverbs 6:20, Proverbs 16:21–23, Psalm 1.
9. What does Scripture say should be our attitudes about our future? Read James 4:13–17, Matthew 6:25–34, Proverbs 19:20–21, 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11, Romans 14:8, 22–23.
10. The Lord will take care of us! Read Psalm 34:8–10.

Does the Bible forbid or allow one human to judge another human in light of Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” In general, today’s society advocates tolerance. Every person is believed to have the right to determine good and evil for themselves and may do so without any opposition from another.

We will strive to see that this text does not condemn all judging. Rather, we will consider what kind of judging the citizens of Jesus’ kingdom are to avoid. We will also consider how the citizens of Jesus’ kingdom are to judge.

 

Does Jesus forbid all forms of judgment?

1.     Read Matthew 7:6.

a.      Does Jesus forbid making evaluations and judgments?

b.     Who are to be considered “dogs” and “swine?”

2.     Read Matthew 7:15–16. Who are “false prophets?” How does one determine whether a prophet is false?

 

In the Sermon on the Mount (of which Matthew 7 is a part) Jesus establishes the principles of his kingdom. In many places he declares that the righteousness of the citizens of his kingdom must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (5:20). In Matthew 7 Jesus is condemning the way in which the Pharisees judged.

1.     How did the Pharisees judge?

2.     What is to be our only standard in making judgments?

3.     What is to be our spirit and attitude when judging another?

4.     What is to be our self-examination before we judge another?

5.     What is to be our motivation for making judgments?

May we judge? How are we to judge?

 

 

  • Read James 5:13–20

 

  • Idea of Prayer
    • What is prayer?
    • Who can pray? (John 9:31)
    • Why pray when God knows everything already? Does prayer actually change things?

 

  • Necessity of Prayer
    • Is prayer important? Why so?  (Psalm 50:14–15)
    • Why must we pray for each other? James 5.

 

  • If prayer is so important, why do we find it so difficult to pray regularly and genuinely? (1 John 1:8–9)

 

  • Improving Our Prayers
    • What are some weaknesses in our prayers?
    • What things can we do to have a more regular, genuine, prayer-life?
    • What specific ways can we praise and thank God?
    • That specific petitions for ourselves ought to be included in our prayers? (1 Peter3:7).
    • It is relatively easy to pray for ourselves, our family, and our friends. But how can we improve in our prayers for the world-wide church? (Ps. 122:6; Eph 1:16–17)

A mighty fortress is our God,

A bulwark never failing;

Our Helper He amid the flood

Of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe

Doth seek to work us woe;

And armed with cruel hate,

His craft and power are great.

On earth is not his equal.

 

Did we in our own strength confide,

Our striving would be losing;

Were not the right Man on our side,

The Man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be?

Christ Jesus, it is He;

Lord Sabaoth His Name,

From age to age the same,

And He must win the battle.

He does not lead me year by year,

Not even day by day.

But step by step my path unfolds.

My Lord directs my way.

Tomorrow’s plans I do not know,

I only know this minute.

But he will say, “this is the way

By faith, now walk ye in it.”

And I am glad that it is so

Today’s enough to bear.

And when tomorrow comes, his grace

Shall far exceed its care.

What need to worry then or fret,

The God who gave his son

Holds all my moments in his hand,

And gives them one by one.

Rev 12:9, 12–13, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:  he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Therefore rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.”

In the above verses, the apostle John warns of the persecution that the woman (the church) will face at the hands of the dragon (the Devil).  Discussion of the end times as it pertains to the young believer in the New dispensation is both pertinent and critically important as we see history rushing forward to that end of history when Christ will return.

 

  1. Eschatology is the term that means the study of the end times. Why is the study of the end times important for our young people?  What are signs that you, as a young person, see that we are in the end times?  What are specific current events that you see are the work of the devil?
  2. Knowing our enemy is very important. Based on scripture, what do we know of Satan?  By what names is Satan known to us?  What do his many names tell us about Satan?
  3. The devil’s attacks are numerous and varied (1 John 3:8; Eph. 6:12). What are his attacks in the lives of young people?  In your own life?
  4. How does he attack our churches? How does he attack your own personal congregation?  Is a strong denomination like the Protestant Reformed churches a target for his attacks?  How are we vulnerable to his attacks?
  5. Where do we find our comfort facing such a terrible foe whose attacks are so varied and whose minions are so numerous?
  6. In Ephesians 6:10–18, we read of putting on the whole armor of God. How do we prepare our defenses against the attacks of the devil upon our churches?  In the lives of young people?  In your own life?
  7. 2 Thess. 2:3: “Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” The son of perdition refers to the antichrist.  Please describe your understanding of the antichrist and the role that he will play in the persecution of the church. (Rev. 13).

Leviticus 18:3–5 “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do:  and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.  Ye shall do my judgments and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.  Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments:  which if a man do, he shall live in them:  I am the Lord.”

In the verses above, the Lord was calling the people of Israel to live according to his statutes and ordinances and not according to the ways of the world.  These words still hold powerful truth for God’s children today, especially his young people.

Pop culture is defined as the combination of interests and activities that a group of people share.   Knowing how we should live in this world and its pop culture in the light of scripture is vitally important to our spiritual health and life.

 

  1. What do you think are some interests and activities that are popular with teens in your circles today?  What do you think the appeal of social media is?  What is your motive for social media, God’s glory or your own?  For example, what is the purpose of your Facebook home page?
  2. Do you feel that the devil could be present when teens in the church are involved with these interests and activities?  Give some examples of how the devil could or even has presented himself in your personal experiences.
  3. If you feel the devil is present with a certain activity or interest, how should this be handled?  Avoid all together or continue with vigilance and caution?  How do we decide?  John 17:15–18; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 2:15–17
  4. Why do you think the devil would like it when teens in the church are interested in the same activities as teens of the world?  Mark 4:9.  Note for thought: When you look at the lives, behaviors, and appearance of pop musicians and actors, is this the type of person that you want to associate yourself with?  Is this the music that you want to sing?
  5. Think about how much time you spend on these things of pop culture  (E.g. texting, social media, popular music, movies).   Why do you think the devil likes it when these things consume most of our time?  How do we be good stewards of our time?  Matt. 16:25, 26; Eph. 5:15–16 Note for thought:  What if we used our Bibles the same amount of time we used our phones?
  6. Many things in pop culture can be innocent or even beneficial.  What are some examples of useful things in pop culture for Christians?  However, the devil can also use these as a tool for sin.  What are some of the ways you think the devil specifically uses pop culture?  2 Cor. 2:11; James 4:11
  7. What can we do to ensure that the devil is not a part of our interests and activities?   How can we help our friends with this as well?  Eph. 6:10–18; Gal. 6:1
  8. How can we not just avoid the devil but better glorify God in our interests and activities?   What good habits could replace your bad habits?  Gal 5:16; Hebrews 4:12
  9. Define the antithesis.  How can we be better witnesses to the world with our interests and activities?  Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 2:9; Matt. 5:16.

Our Lord and heavenly Father has seen fit in his infinite wisdom and counsel to bless us with relationships.  This is born out of the perfect fellowship and communion that he enjoys in his triune self.  We have so many and varied relationships in our lives that serve to test and strengthen our faith and grow our covenant bonds with one another.   We have our relationships in our families with our parents and siblings.  We have our relationships with friends.  We have our relationships with those in authority over us in school, church, and work.  And we have our relationships with our neighbors, those outside the church.

In Proverbs 1:8–9 we read of the relationship between parent and child “My son, hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law of thy mother.  For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”

Throughout 1 Samuel we read of the beautiful friendship between David and Jonathan.   1 Samuel 18:1 reads, “The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”  What a close friendship!

In Romans13:1–2 we read of our relationship with those in authority: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God:  the powers that be are ordained of God.”

In 2 Corinthians 6 we read of our relationship with those of this world.  “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:  for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness…”

 

Friendships & Dating

  1. We know the influences our friends and those we date have on us. We must be wise and thoughtful when choosing our friends and those whom we date.  What are some characteristics of a Godly friend and of those who we should date?

 

  1. What are some ways the devil can tempt us in our friendships and in our dating?

 

  1. What are things that we can do to glorify God in our friendships and in our dating?

Authority

  1. As Christian young people, what is our calling with respect to those in authority? How does Satan tempt us to sin against this calling?

 

  1. How does God bless you through your parents? How does the devil tempt us in our relationships with our parents in the home?

 

  1. In light of the sin and wickedness that abounds in our government, how do we heed the call to respect those in authority? When our own president makes decisions that go against our Reformed beliefs, how do we pray for our leaders, as we are called to?

 

Our Neighbors of the World

  1. What is God’s calling to us in regard to our worldly neighbor?

 

  1. What is the devil’s relationship to our unbelieving neighbor?

 

  1. How might the devil attack us and negatively affect our relationship with God and the church through our unbelieving neighbor?

#1: Awareness in the Last Days

Reading: 2 Timothy 3

Are we in the last days? What do you see around you that shows that we are in the last days?

Why do we need to be aware of these signs of the last days?

What are false ideas about the end of the world that you see or hear? What does the Bible teach? See 1 Thessalonians 5:2

Who are your enemies?

What do you think of the world’s definition and view of tolerance and equality? How do we respond?

What is false peace? Are you victims of false peace? How might we be drawn into lethargy and false peace? See 1 Thessalonians 5:3

 

#2: How to Live the Antithesis

Reading: Colossians 3

What is a sanctified Christian walk?

How do you and how should you spend your time?

What are you talking about at church? During the week? Are you having spiritual conversations?

How should you interact with others? Should your actions be dependent on the actions of the other party?

Who or what distracts you from a sanctified walk? Who are your heroes? What are your time wasters/addictions? See 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 14-22

How should you consider a vocation?

 

#3: Fighting the Good Fight

Reading: Ephesians 6

How do you equip yourself for the battle? See 1 Thessalonians 5:8

What is truth? How do you know it? How is it used in the battle? What is its importance in the last days? See Ephesians 6:17

How is prayer used in our battle? In what frame of mind should we be when we come to God in prayer? See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Are you dealing with persecution in your life? What about those around you? What battle are you fighting? See 1 Thessalonians 5:6

What is your hope in the last days? How do you focus on this hope so you don’t get caught up in the worries of the world?

How can/do/should you help each other put on the armor of God?

Within these bright and solid walls,

God holds a golden key;

to rooms of safety, warmth and pride,

a place called “family”.

May all our days be filled with trust,

nights blessed from up above,

and as the years pass tenderly,

may this roof shelter love.

From month to year…

from friend to kin,

God bless the hearts

that dwell within.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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Judah: A Story of Redemption

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021.   The story of Judah is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. We often overlook this history because it is nestled in the middle of the story of Joseph. All the […]

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